Technology will change your business: Are you prepared?
Has your life been disrupted or improved by technology? What about your business? Probably yes and yes. And you can expect more change in the near future. As the rate of innovation picks up its pace, so does change across many industries. Are you ready to lead effective change management in your organization? Read on for a look at how technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives and for tips on how to be change-adept for the future.
You’re probably using AI, even if you don’t know it
How has tech disrupted your life? Or made it better? This may surprise you, but according to a March 2018 Gallup poll, 85 percent of Americans already use at least one of six products with artificial intelligence (AI).
The hottest tech buzzword now: Internet of Things (IoT)
I personally use AI and another emerging tech known as the Internet of Things (IoT) every day. IoT connects devices (other than computers, tablets and smartphones) to the internet. Cars or kitchen appliances for example. For a fuller explanation, click here to visit Business Insider.
Auto command center
Are you a Wazer? I use AI & IOT in my car with Waze to drive smart. The smartphone app offers real-time help of road warriors driving in the same geography as me. If you don’t already use it, try it! It’s amazing.
Do you use a headset yet? My Bluetooth headset allows me to talk hands-free in the car for a safer driving experience. With the new Georgia driving laws, any Georgian could get into hot water for holding their phone up to their ear, scrolling through contacts and touching the dial button.
So, I’m combining the use of my headset with AI in the car with use of Google Assistant and commands like, “Ok Google, call Eduin Rosell.”
AI while I “cook”
Alexa, a personal assistant in my bedroom and kitchen provided by Amazon, helps me to play music, check the weather, build shopping lists and embarrassingly, boil an egg since I can never remember exactly how to do it.
I’ve lost count of how many times in a day I start a sentence with, “Alexa,” or “Ok Google.” And how many times I mix up their names. It would be nice to have a boss bot to command all the other bots so I can keep them straight. I’m sure it’s in the works…
AI on the job
While most of the examples I gave above are personal, I use AI in my job too. When I launched my business, I needed a better editor than the one we all use in Word. That’s where Grammarly comes in. Not only can it edit at a higher level, it can do it in different types of English. So when I’m writing a thought leadership piece to publish in Europe, I turn on the “British English” language preference. These tools don’t catch a lot of the nuances of our language, but they do help avoid dumb grammar or structural mistakes. I highly recommend it, no matter what type of business you’re in.
When I first launched my PR business, I was asked if I “do tech.” I wasn’t sure how to respond. I made a crazy assumption that I wasn’t already, well, “doing tech.”
But once I thought about it, my work in the past few years has included PR strategy about electronic medical records, robotic surgery and a digital driving test for stroke patients.
That’s just the start. Right now I’m working on communications spanning industries about their new tech applications like:
- Advertising software that automates media buying and selling
- Blockchain, bots and augmented reality for travel business management
- An app that helps hospitalists make tough decisions fast about complex drug delivery
- An interactive digital classroom for music pedagogy students
How do we stay relevant?
If talk about AI infiltrating your business world makes you squirm, you’re not alone. While many of us say we’re open to change, the majority of us are not early adopters. As our world is increasingly connected, changes won’t slow. Tech is making its way into every realm of our lives, including the office.
So how do we stay relevant? We keep learning. We stay open to change. We try new things. Even if it takes nine tries to call my husband with Ok Google the first time. It’s a learning process to adopt new technology, but it gets easier with repetition. I can hear my old piano teacher now…”Practice, practice, practice…”
How leaders can lead effective change management
Time after time has shown that change management efforts fall flat too often. But they don’t have to. As technology makes its way into your industry, leaders need to embrace and encourage change for personal and organizational success. Your approach will help your company succeed in the tech-saturated future.
- LEARN: The first step to becoming change-adept is as simple as reading the news and trade publications. Subscribe to digital publications like AtlantaInno (or any of its sister sites across the country) to see the cutting-edge ideas incubating in your own backyard. And if there’s something you don’t understand, seek to understand.
- IMAGINE: Harvard Business Review suggests imagining the future and creating a culture of calculated risk-taking. Look for things that could be improved around you and make connections with the emerging technology you hear about. Look at what others are doing to solve problems. How could what another industry is doing with AI be applied to fix your business challenges? Invite your team to do the same. Instead of asking “why?” when an employee offers a solution, ask “why not?”
- TEST: Before going full throttle, create a safe pilot environment. Keep old systems in place while testing new systems. Test with a small group rather than enterprise-wide. This will help decide if it’s worth moving forward and if so, work out some of the kinks in advance.
- COMMUNICATE: When your company adopts a new technology, you must launch effective change management communications at the beginning and continue throughout the process. Your communications team or consultants can help you develop and implement change management communications that lead to success, such as:
- Share the “why” so employees are less likely to fight the change.
- Put together a cross-functional team to help the organization adopt. Include leaders, front-line users, techies, influencers, people who have access to other people and skeptics. (By getting people who tend to fight change involved, they will be more likely to help change the minds of other naysayers.)
- Give people a platform to ask questions and express concerns. Ask for input and respond quickly throughout the process.
- Publish success stories to create momentum for new tech adoption.
- Change can’t happen without everyone’s support. When you turn off the old systems and turn on the new because change adoption was a success, be sure to thank everyone in your organization.
We live in a world of innovation. It’s already changed your organization and it’s only a matter of time until it changes again. You can choose to create positive change with an attitude of learning, imagination, experimentation and communication.
How has technology already affected your business? Comment below with your story and tips for successful change management when adopting new tech.